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My 2007 Article appears below The Donaldson Report: For the Records

When The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute of NYC released their study advising the release of adoptees’ birth records, I wrote an article in support. That article, published in our local newspaper, The Buffalo News, is posted below, following the Donaldson Institute’s Press Release and Summary Release. It is also posted under the “My Archives” Page for 2007.

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/media/20071112_study_forrecords.php.

MEDIA ADVISORY: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GROUND-BREAKING STUDY RECOMMENDS ADOPTEES GET ACCESS TO THEIR BIRTH RECORDS

NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2007 – The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute today released the most comprehensive examination to date of one of the most controversial, emotional issues in the modern adoption world: whether adopted people, once they become adults, should have access to their original birth information. This report suggests that all states change their laws so that the answer is “yes.”

Among the findings in the report, “For the Records: Restoring a Right to Adult Adoptees,” are:

  • Prohibiting adopted people from getting their personal information raises significant civil rights concerns and potentially serious, negative consequences for their physical and mental health.
  • In states that now allow access, there has been no evidence that the legal changes have caused problematic behavior by adopted persons or damage to birthmother’s lives.
  • Another assertion by critics of changing these laws – that abortion rates will rise and adoption rates will fall – is not supported by the evidence; in fact, it appears just the opposite occurs.

Based on its research and an analysis of its findings, the Institute’s recommendations include:

  • Every state should amend its laws to restore unrestricted access for adult adopted persons to their original birth certificates – which, historically, had been their right nationwide.
  • Within three years of enactment, revisit state laws that create a “sandwich” situation in which some adult adopted persons get access to their documents while others do not.
  • Conduct research to expand the understanding of the experiences of adopted persons, birthparents and adoptive parents in relation to the issue of access to records.

“After decades of discussion, debate and heated argument, we decided to see what’s real and what’s based on anecdotes and stereotypes,” said Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute. “Now we can reshape public policy in a way that genuinely helps the millions of people involved.”

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit that is the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. The Institute’s mission is to improve the lives of everyone touched by adoption through better laws, policies and practices.

For more details about “For the Records” or to schedule an interview, please call Executive Director Adam Pertman at 617-763-0134 or email him at apertman@adoptioninstitute.org. To learn more about the Institute, visit our award-winning website, www.adoptioninstitute.org.

To access the full report, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2007_11_for_records.php

… … …

FOR THE RECORDS: RESTORING A RIGHT TO ADULT ADOPTEES

Author: Madelyn Freundlich
Published: 2007 November. New York NY: Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
Document Type: White Paper (31 pages)
Availability: PDF Full Report | Executive Summary | Glossary of Terms | Web Page | Press Release

This publication, released in November for National Adoption Awareness month, represents the most comprehensive examination to date of one of the most controversial, emotional issues in the modern adoption world: whether adopted people, once they become adults, should have access to their original birth certificates. This report suggests that all states change their laws so that the answer is “yes.”

This policy paper is the result of the broadest, most extensive examination to date of the various issues related to state laws governing adult adopted persons’ access to their original birth certificates. The information and recommendations in this paper are drawn from a review and analysis of past and current state laws; legislative history in states across the country; decades of experience on relevant issues; and the body of research relating to sealed and open records on the affected parties.

Among the findings in the report, “For the Records: Restoring a Right to Adult Adoptees,” are:

  • Prohibiting adopted people from getting their personal information raises significant civil rights concerns and potentially serious, negative consequences for their physical and mental health.
  • In states that now allow access, there has been no evidence that the legal changes have caused problematic behavior by adopted persons or damage to birthmother’s lives.
  • Another assertion by critics of changing these laws – that abortion rates will rise and adoption rates will fall – is not supported by the evidence; in fact, it appears just the opposite occurs.

Based on its research and an analysis of its findings, the Institute’s recommendations include:

  • Every state should amend its laws to restore unrestricted access for adult adopted persons to their original birth certificates – which, historically, had been their right nationwide.
  • Within three years of enactment, revisit state laws that create a “sandwich” situation in which some adult adopted persons get access to their documents while others do not.
  • Conduct research to expand the understanding of the experiences of adopted persons, birthparents and adoptive parents in relation to the issue of access to records.

2007-12-7 All Adoptees Deserve Access to Birth Records